I am an American citizen married to a UK citizen, and I am trying to travel to the UK to volunteer for 4 months.
It would seem as though trying to do this is very difficult and complicated. Does anyone know if I can just go over and volunteer, without having to apply for a charity worker visa? It looks fairly simple for spouses of EU folks in the UK to work, but there seem to be a lot of hoops for me to just volunteer.
Just curious - which organization in the UK do you have in mind?
And is your partner going to be with you?
Doh, I can't believe I messed the subject line up.
I'm planning on volunteering at East Belfast Mission. It's a church and non-profit in Northern Ireland. I've got folks there trying to help me out, but they're still adjusting to some changes in the visa system. Currently they are applying for a license so that I can then apply for the visa. But it just all seems unnecessary. My wife is actually already there. She went back early to find a paying job and get things set up for us.
Unfortunately, right now I'm sort of stuck in America. I may end up having to volunteer somewhere else where they don't care whether or not I have a visa that allows me to volunteer. But hopefully, this is all non-sense and there's actually some benefit to marrying a UK citizen.
Interested to know what 'license' is required. Sound like your organization is having to jump through a few hoops. Is the East Belfast Mission a business run by an American church?
Visa laws are cast in stone. No-one is exempt.
I think it's sort of like when a company hosts someone's work permit application. In a similar way, the charity has to be registered with the government to host international volunteers. Part of the application includes their # or whatever.
No it's just run by the Methodist Church of Ireland.
I just didn't think UK laws could be so dumb. You might not be able to work with children in some places in America, but if your over on a tourist visa and you want to volunteer, there's nothing that says you can't.
There are criminal checks here for people who want to work with children. I'd assume your visa app already checks you out - though I'm not sure why anyone would want to work on a tourist visa for a charity, especially with children.
[ Edit: Edited on 11-Aug-2009, at 05:14 by fabyomama ]